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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > A Night Unforgettable

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A Night Unforgettable - John 13:1-5

Taught on | Topic: Service | Keywords: Supper, Passover, Judas, His hour

Some days are frozen in time because of the magnitude of an event. You will always remember September 11, 2001 and where you were when the towers fell. The night America bombed Baghdad or the night John Lennon was murdered may be permanent memories captured in your mind. This was the final night Jesus spent with His own disciples and it would be unforgettable. Let’s discover how what seem like ordinary moments can be extraordinary appointments.

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3/13/2011
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A Night Unforgettable
John 13:1-5
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Some days are frozen in time because of the magnitude of an event. You will always remember September 11, 2001 and where you were when the towers fell. The night America bombed Baghdad or the night John Lennon was murdered may be permanent memories captured in your mind. This was the final night Jesus spent with His own disciples and it would be unforgettable. Let’s discover how what seem like ordinary moments can be extraordinary appointments.
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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.

Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.

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Outline

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  1. It Was Framed by a Sense of Timing

  2. It Focused on a Private Gathering

  3. It Featured an Act of Serving

  4. It Was Filled with Shades of Meaning

  5. It Was Fouled by Sinful Plotting

Pondering the Principles:

  1. How have you discovered that God’s timing is better that your own? Can you think of a specific instance?

  2. Who can you be a servant to this week—some person that you could assist by performing an act of kindness in the name of Christ?

  3. What humble task around the home is especially difficult for you to do? Why? What does Jesus’ example here do to change your behavior?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Some days are ordinary, some are important
    2. Passover Meal "What makes this night different from all other nights?"
      1. Part of the liturgy
      2. Remember the lamb slain in Egypt, the blood, and the deliverance from bondage
    3. Last Supper Meal
      1. Disciples have spent many meals with Jesus
      2. At least two previous Passovers
      3. This night would be different from all other nights, a night they would remember
    4. John uses chapters 13-17, and part of chapter 18 to record events of this single night
    5. Upper Room Discourse
      1. John alone records the information
      2. Jesus unfolds His heart to His disciples and trains them
    6. We may not know a time is special at the moment–"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.  One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." –Mary Jean Irion
  2.  It Was Framed by a Sense of Timing
    1. Special Time - Passover
      1. Jews gathered in Jerusalem
        1. One of three mandatory feasts that those nearby must observe in Jerusalem
          1. Wanted to be there
          2. "Next year in Jerusalem!"
        2. pesach - Passover
        3. Josephus records 256,000 lambs slain during the era; 2.75 million people in Jerusalem
      2. The lamb was slain, roasted, and the people shared a meal to celebrate their deliverance from bondage
      3. This group was celebrating something different
        1. The Lamb was at the table with them
        2. "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
    2. "His hour" had come (phrase used six times in Gospel of John)
      1. "My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4)
      2. "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come." (John 7:6-8)
      3. "His hour had not yet come" (John 8:20)
      4. "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified." (John 12:23)
      5. "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour." (John 12:27)
      6. "Jesus knew that His hour had come" (John 13:1)
    3. The gospel record
      1. 89 chapters total in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
      2. 85 of those focus on the last 3.5 years of Jesus' life on earth
      3. 29 of those focus on the final week
      4. 13 of those focus on the final 24 hours
      5. 579 verses zero in on "the hour"
    4. "Cut the Bible anywhere and it will bleed."—Graham Scroggie
    5. We celebrate the day of crucifixion, Good Friday, because of the result: forgiveness
    6. Make the celebration of the cross a priority. "In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'" (1 Corinthians 11:25)
  3. It Focused on a Private Gathering
    1. Having loved "His own"
      1. The twelve apostles: His closest friends, the intimate disciples
      2. Private meeting with a close group of friends behind closed doors
        1. Like a coach gathering the team before a game
        2. Like a general gathering soldiers before battle
    2. Jesus is training His disciples in John 14-17
    3. Why would Jesus spend his last moments with the disciples? After all, they are already saved.
      1. Evangelism is the disciples' job
      2. Jesus job to train and equip them to go do it
        1. Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)
        2. "Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" (Matthew 9:35-38)
        3. "And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out" (Matthew 10:1-5)
      3. We are saved, discipled, and turned loose
    4. Learn to live by a sense of divine timing
      1. Mordecai to Esther: "Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
      2. "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)
      3. If you are 40 years old, you have 500 days left to live as you wish
        1. 25 years of life spent sleeping
        2. 18-25 years spent working
        3. 8 years of television
    5. Make your time count -
      1. "Redeeming the time," (Ephesians 5:16)
      2. "Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."– Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. It Featured an Act of Serving
    1. Jesus washed the apostles' feet
      1. Hot weather, open sandals, no paved roads or sidewalks; dirty feet
      2. Entrance to most homes had a pot of water at the door and a servant to wash feet
      3. Private room lent for Passover
    2. Disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. (See Luke 22:24)
    3. Any of the apostles could have washed the feet, but Jesus did it
    4. Jesus "loved His own" (showed them the full extent of His love)
    5. Jesus knew he had all power, authority, came from heaven, going to heaven, yet He washed feet
      1. If you know who you are, you don't have to prove who you are to anyone else: your identity equals your security.
      2. Jesus knew who He was and that enabled Him to freely love others.
    6. Who is hard to love, serve, forgive?
    7. At peace with your past, secure in your future, free to love in the present
  5.  It Was Filled with Shades of Meaning
    1. Showed them the full extent of His love.
    2. Jesus is acting in parable form what is coming.
      1. Rose from supper - got up from heaven to come to earth
      2. Laid aside garments - emptied Himself 
      3. Took towel and girded Himself - Jesus, though deity, wrapped divinity in a towel of humanity
      4. Pored the water and washed feet - He would pour his blood to wash away sin
      5. Wipe with a towel and dry their feet - When Jesus starts something, He finishes it. "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" (Philippians 1:6)
  6.  It Was Fouled by Sinful Plotting
    1. The devil came to dinner
    2. Judas is a contrast to Jesus
      1. Jesus made an act of sacrifice; Judas an act of selfishness
      2. Jesus thought of everyone but Self; Judas thought of no one but self
      3. Jesus gives; Judas takes
    3. Contrast the devil's philosophy and Jesus' philosophy
      1. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)
      2. "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'" (Isaiah 14:12-14)
    4. Never more like Jesus than when you serve; Never more like the devil than when you refuse to serve and want to be seen and rule
    5. God has the last word:
      1. "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 9-11)+
      2. "Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit." (Isaiah 14:15)
  7. Application
    1. Learn to place more value on personal relationships
    2. Capture spare moments -
      "Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart." –Erma Bombeck
    3. Use your power to serve
      1. When servants serve it is what is expected; when leaders serve it is profound
      2. When asked the hardest instrument to play, Leonard Bernstein replied, "Second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who plays second violin with enthusiasm is difficult. Yet, if no one plays second fiddle, we have no harmony."

Hebrew Terms: pesach - Passover
Figures Referenced: Mary Jean Irion; Josephus; Graham Scroggie; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Erma Bombeck; Leonard Bernstein;
Cross References: Esther 4:14; Psalm 90:12; Isaiah 14:12-14; Isaiah 14:15; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 10:1-5; Luke 22:24; John 1:29; John 2:4; John 7:6-8; John 8:20; John 12:23; John 12:27; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Ephesians 5:16; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 2:5-8; Philippians 2:9-11

Topic: Service

Keywords: Supper, Passover, Judas, His hour

Transcript

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Let's pray together.  Father our hearts go out especially to those in Japan at this very moment, who have suffered great loss.  A little movement in the crust of the earth causes such damage.  We understand how frail we are upon this earth and how much we depend upon You.  And so Lord we who depend upon You cry out for our neighbors across the sea, in Japan, especially our brothers and sisters, some of whom we know personally, some who are in ministry in serving in churches and on the field, and we pray that You would keep them.  And also, keep them in the right frame of mind to share the love of Jesus, with those who are suffering very deep and profound loss.

We want to remember Father our men and women in the military who are out of the country and placed themselves all over the world, some in harms way.  Just a special prayer for them that You direct their steps and guide them and keep them.  Bring them home to families who have allowed them to go out.  And Father we pray for ourselves here at home that we would see this as a special moment that You have something that You want to say to us, and our hearts would never be too calloused nor hardened to open them up and hear a fresh word from heaven, so speak, in Jesus name, Amen.

I discovered that so far in my life I have had 20,318 nights.  Now, before you write that down, I'm trying to do the math of exactly how old I am.  I did the math and that, 20,318 nights, many have been ordinary, and a couple of them standout to me as being very important.  One obviously, would be the night in spring many years ago, when I asked Lena Farley to be my wife.  I'll never forget the night nor will she, because she had no idea what I was actually saying to her.

[Laughter]

In fact as I'm stumbling my way through it she finally stopped because, "Are you trying to ask me to marry you?"

[Laughter]

So, I was grateful for the help.

[Laughter]

Another night that stands out was the summer night that I've prayed to receive Christ into my heart.  I was watching television and Billy Graham says, "If you're watching television --" and I was, and so I prayed to receive Him.  Now, of those 20,318 nights that I've had, those two nights changed my life forever.  They were pretty special.  I could add a couple to that.  The first night I was a dad, six months ago the first night I was a grandpa.  These are life changing nights.  At every Passover, a child will ask the father at the Passover meal, "What makes this night different from all other nights?"  That's a question written into the liturgy of the "Passover meal."  Because, God thought it was important enough that His people would forever remember, the land that was slain in Egypt, and the blood placed over the lentils and doorpost as the remembrance of their deliverance out of bondage.

We're dealing with that meal in this chapter, the Disciples and Jesus gathered together for what we have known as "The Last Supper Meal."  The Disciples had spent many a meal with Jesus, and at least two previous Passovers.  But this night, was different from all other nights in their life.  This would be a night that they would live to remember as being very, very special.  It was so extraordinary a night that John, the writer of the gospel, views these chapters 13, chapter 14, chapter 15, chapter 16, chapter 17 and part of chapter 18 to record a single night.  It was a night that was unforgettable, a night to remember.

Now, in the course of the event of that night, one of the things the Lord does is give what we called "The Upper Room Discourse."  Remember that, because we're going to be studying it in chapters 14, 15 and 16.  He alone gives us the information recorded as Jesus unfolds His heart to His Disciples and trains them.  You also are going to have some special nights in your life.  I don't know what they are, but there's going to be some that standout to you as being very special.  You might not know they're special at that moment, but they will turn out to be key moments, hinge points.

It caused one author named Mary Jean Irion to write this, "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so.  One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world, your return."

Well, let's find out why this night was so unforgettable, verse one.  Now, before the feast of the Passover when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father.  Having loved His own who are in the world, He loved them to the end, and suffer being ended the devil, having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son to betray him.  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded himself, after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash the Disciple's feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

Now, in your worship folder, you have an outline and if you don't have that with you, I'm going to give five reasons why this night was so special and so different from all other nights.  Number one, this night was framed by a sense of timing.  I want to explain that, it was framed by a sense of timing.  First of all, there are words in the text that indicate a special time.  The first is the word Passover.  That was always a special time annually for the Jews.  They would gather together, and if you lived anywhere in the vicinity of Jerusalem, it was one of the three mandatory feasts you had to be in the city of Jerusalem.  If you live further away, in fact if you lived anywhere else in the world, you wanted to be there.  To this very day, at Passover, one of the last things Jewish people say in the meal together is they close by saying, "Next year in Jerusalem!"  That was their hope, to spend at least one Pesach or Passover season in the holy city.  It was a crowded event even 2000 years ago.

Josephus the historian tells us that at one Passover season during this era, 256,000 lambs were slaughtered in the temple for Passover.  The ratio is ten people per lamb, so we can safely say there were at least 2.75 million people in the city of Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.  The lambs were slain, and after they were slain, the lamb was given to the family or to the group.  They took the lamb home, they roasted it.  They had a leisurely meal together as they celebrated that moment of their history, the moment of deliverance.  But, on this night, it was different.  The Disciples weren't just celebrating the lamb that was killed that day in the temple, or the lamb killed thousands of years ago in Egypt.  They were celebrating something different, they would discover, the lamb sitting at the table with them, Jesus, whom John the Baptist called the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Look at verse one.  There's something else about timing.  Now, before the feast of the Passover when Jesus knew that His hour had come, that He should depart from this world to the Father.  You're familiar with that phrase by now, the term, His hour or My hour.  Six times in the gospel of John, that phrase comes up.  It's very significant John really hammers this theme throughout the book.  The first time we encounter it is chapter two.  He's at the married supper at Cana of Galilee.  Mary, Jesus' mother suggests that Jesus do something to introduce Himself as the messiah to the nation.  Jesus turns to her, remember what He said?  "Woman, My hour has not yet come."

Then we go to chapter seven and chapter eight, Jesus is in Jerusalem at the temple.  He says and does some controversial things, they tried to grab Him, but the Bibles says, "no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come."  Few chapters later, He's again in Jerusalem in chapter 12, He goes into the city on that donkey, on Palm Sunday.  And arriving in the temple He says, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified."

A few minutes later he says, "Now, my soul is troubled and what shall I say?  Father save me from this hour?  No, but for this very purpose I came to this hour."  So, all the way through, He speaks about the timing, His hour, His hour, His hour."

So, what makes this night different from all other nights?  That's the question asked to Passover.  One of the Disciples must have asked the question that night.  What makes this night so different?  Is this hour, this moment in history, this Passover when Jesus the Lamb for sinners slain, was about to be offered up.  It's because of this hour that John devotes almost six chapters to that single night.  And I want you to remember something.  I've told you this, a couple of times before, but these facts move over us quickly.  There are 89 chapters in total in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Add them all up, you have 89 chapters.  Eighty-five of those 89 chapters focus on the last three and a half years of Jesus' life on earth.  Of that 85 chapter, block 29, focused on the final week of Jesus on the earth.  And 13 deal with the last 24-hour segment of His life.

That's the main focus.  Five hundred and seventy-nine separate verses in all four gospels zero in on the hour, or this moment, this time, the 24-hour period where Jesus gives His life for the world.  No wonder Graham Scroggie, the great Biblical scholar said, "You cut the Bible anywhere and it bleeds."  It's all about this.  And folks, this explains why Christians focus a lot on the cross, on the crucifixion.  That bugs some people, "Why do you always talk about the cross, the blood, the cross?"  And, this also explains why every year, when we commemorate our Savior's death, we refer to it as Good Friday.  An outsider would say, "What's so good about it?  He died."  What's so good about it, in fact we should call it Great Friday.  Because, what's so great about it, are the results, the result is forgiveness.  God is able to wash our sins away, as we look to Jesus as the offering for our sin.

I want to encourage you to make the celebration of this hour, the cross a priority in your life.  Make it a personal ambition if you will to whenever you hear there's a communion service that is offered, go to it, partake.  Jesus said, "Do this often, in remembrance of me."  So, that's the first thing that makes this night so different, so unforgettable, so special.  It was framed by that sense of timing, 'My hour.'

Second, it focused on a private gathering, go back again to verse one.  Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come, that He should depart from world to the Father.  Now watch this, having loved His own who are in the world, they loved Him to the end.  Now, that's who is in the room with, His own.  Who's His own?  The 12 Apostles, those are his closest friends.  They would be regarded as intimate Disciples, His own.  So, this is important.  This isn't a public gathering.  This isn't an evangelistic crusade, or a public sermon.  This is a private meal, a private meeting with a close group of friends that Jesus shares behind closed doors.  Think of it as a coach gathering the team before the big game, giving them the plays of the other opposing team.  Or a general gathering his soldiers before a battle, and encouraging them before they hit the field, so Jesus training His Disciples discipling them in chapters 14, 15, 16 or even here by the very event that we read about.

Here's the question.  Why would Jesus, if He's about to leave the earth, He's about to die, why would He spent the last moments of His life with His own Disciples?  I mean, they already know him, they are already saved, we would say.  They believed in Him.  There's a whole crowd out there.  There are thousands of people that don't believe and don't know.  Why wouldn't Jesus leave that room, go out there, do some miracles, say something and get as many people as possible, even give an altar call.

That's a good question.  There's a good answer for it.  The answer is, because that's their job as Disciples, not He's job.  He's job is to train them and equip them to go out and do it.  I think it's an important distinction to make.  At the very time Jesus called his Disciples who are fishermen.  He said something to them, "Follow me.  I'm going to make you become fishers of men.  You guys are going to follow me for a few years, you're going to watch me fish, but basically I'm training you to do it.  You're going to be the ones to do it, not me.  You're going to do it."  And they would become that.

I'll put a marker here.  Go back if you don't mind to Matthew's gospel, chapter nine.  I want you to see these principles, the best example I know of it, Matthew chapter nine.  So, go back three blocks to the gospel of Matthew.  The street marked nine, Matthew chapter nine verses 35.  You there?  Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  You get the picture that Jesus is doing it all, but, but when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd.  Then he said to His Disciples, "The harvest is truly plentiful, the laborers are few, therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

Now, I'm going to imagine that the Disciples obeyed Jesus and did exactly that, maybe got together that day.  James with John or Peter and they bowed their heads and they said, "Lord, like just Jesus told us, we pray that You'd send out more workers, it's a big harvest field.  There's lot of people out there, they need to hear about Jesus.  And we just pray You'd send people out there."  Not knowing, how that prayer was about to be answered.  Chapter ten, "And when He had called His 12 Disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits to cast them out, to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease."  Verse two, now the names of the 12 Apostles are these, and they're listed.

Go down to verse five.  These 12, Jesus sent out.  Get the picture?  "Guys, I want you to pray, we need workers out there.  Lord, send more workers."  A couple of days later, "Hey, guess what guys, you're prayers have been answered.  You're going.  I'm sending you."  Now, here's the principle, I don't want you to miss this.  You get saved, you get Discipled, and you get turned loose.  That's the principle.  You get saved, you get Discipled, prepare, and you get turned loose.  So, that's what Jesus is doing in that upper room.  This private meeting is to train His own, to prepare them to impact the crowds that are outside of that room in days ahead.

I love calling people to faith, I love doing altar calls, we do them quite frequently.  And, this Wednesday night we had a great, great altar call.  A lot of people came forward.  Last night same thing, but that's all of our job, that's all of our opportunity.  So, what makes this night so special?  It's not just another Passover where we looked back to a lamb slain thousands of years ago in a country called Egypt.  This is the night.  This is the last night that those Disciples are going to eat a meal with Jesus before He goes to the cross to die.  And Jesus will train them, and Disciple them.  And they don't even know how important that night is.  They will later on, but even at that moment they have no clue how monumental this evening is.

Here's another principle.  Learn to live by a sense of timing, divine timing.  What looks to you like just a normal ordinary day, a normal ordinary night, not so extraordinary may actually be a hinge moment, an extraordinary special time.  You recall the words that in the book of Esther, Uncle Mordecai said to his niece Esther, who was in the palace of the king.  Remember the words?  He said, "Who knows that you didn't come to the kingdom for such a time as this.  This could be a special moment what seems to you Esther like an ordinary day maybe a special moment of deliverance that God will use you for."

Another, one of my favorite, verses Psalm 90 written by Moses incidentally.  He says, "So Lord, teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom."  I find that interesting that when we reckon time according to that Psalm, we're to think not about how many years we've lived, but how many days we've lived.  Teach us to number our days.

Let me throw out a thought to you.  If you're 40 years of age, you have effectively only 500 days left to live.  You go "Skip, you need a math class really bad," because the average American will leave to be 78.4 years old.  That's now the average.  So, how can you tell me if I'm 40 that I've only got 500, I got way more than that.  No, actually if you were to subtract all of the years accumulated in your life that you will spend eating, sleeping, working, that's about right.  You see, 25 years of the average American's life, 25 years total, will be spent sleeping.  From 18 to 25 years will be spent working.  So, you just subtract those.  Another eight years will be spent as the average watching television, and some will watch 28 years worth of television.

[Laughter]

But the average is eight years.  And subtract medical visits, hospitalization, et cetera, that effectively, at the end of that in the next 37, 38 year if you live to be the average, you only have 500 days left to live as you will, as you wish.  Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.  The issue isn't counting time as much as making time count.  Put in the words of Paul the Apostle, "Redeeming the time."  Might be a five minutes here, ten minutes here, 20 minutes here, redeeming the time because the days are evil.

Listen to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson he writes, "Guard well your spare moments.  They are like uncut diamonds.  Discard them and their value will never be known.  Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."  So, it was framed by a sense of timing.  It was focused on a private gathering.

The third reason it stands out as unforgettable.  It featured an act of serving.  You noticed on verse four and five that Jesus rose from the supper, laid aside his garments, put a towel around Himself and started washing the Disciple's feet.  Ever wonder about that?  What's up with Jesus washing feet?  What's that all about?  It's dinner!  Well, here's the deal, 2000 years ago, in Israel, the weather is a lot hotter than it is typically here.  They didn't have closed toed shoes, they had open toed sandals and the roads were not paved, no sidewalks, with all dirt, dust, mud.  So, your feet get pretty gnarly just walking around.  Because of that, at the entrance of most homes was a pot of water and typically a servant who would wash the feet of the guest who would come in.  But, we're told from the other gospel accounts that this was a room, a private owned room that was lent, given to the Disciples and Jesus for their Passover meal.

Apparently, it didn't come with a servant.  Jesus starts washing the feet of the Disciples.  But, there's something else, that unless you know this, this doesn't make much sense.  It's a clue found in the gospel of Luke.  I'm just going to read it to you, it's the same account, and it's the Last Supper account.  This is Luke now, chapter 22.  He gives us some helpful information.  It seems that in that room that night, the tension had been mounting.  They were engaged in a very lively conversation.  I'll read the verse, "Then they began to argue among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the coming kingdom."  So, they're around the temple, "I'm going to be pretty great in the kingdom you know, because I will --."  "Well no, I'm going to be even greater than you are."  They're talking about this at dinner time.

After that supper, Jesus washed their feet.  Now, who should have washed feet that night?  Servant wasn't around.  I can answer that.  Anyone of the Disciples could have done it.  I'm not going to say Judah should have done it, everybody could have done it.  But, can you imagine the conversation?  I'm sure that if you were to interview any of the disciples they would say, "I've volunteered to wash Jesus' feet."  But, they wouldn't wash each others.  Now, maybe Peter said, "I'm not going to do it, I'm the Rock."  I got the answer right in Matthew 16.

"I'm the Rock, besides that I'm going to be the first Pope."  No, he wouldn't have said that.

[Laughter]

Thomas would have said, "Yeah, whatever, I doubt it."

[Laughter]

John might have said, "Well, I'm the Disciple Jesus loved.  In fact I've got a book to write about this night, so I'm going to be very busy during the meal, so I can't do it."  Thomas would have said, "Yeah, whatever, I doubt it."

[Laughter]

Judas might have said, "Oh, I'll wash your feet if you pay me."

[Laughter]

But, none of them lift a finger, so Jesus starts washing their feet.  There's something you have to notice, verse one tells us a little bit of information.  It says, "Having loved His own," that's those 12 men, "Having loved His own, who are in the world, He loved them to the end."  A better translation, "He showed them the full extent of His love."  Okay, there's another verse, it's all before the washing of the feet.  Verse three.  Look at it, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands.  That he had come from God, and was going to God."  Now, stop right there.  That's the introduction to the feet wash, "Here's Jesus, He is all power, all authority, given to Him by God," it says.  He knows that He came from.  He knows His going back to heaven.  So, what does he do?  Well, you think He might stand up and say, "Do you know who I am?  Now, I demand that you stop arguing and I command that you start helping out around dinner a little bit and wash each others feet."  Now, again here's the flow of the text, "Jesus with all power and all authority, and knowing that He had come from heaven and was going to heaven."  He started washing their feet.

Okay, if you'd still don't think this is odd.  Let me put it to you this way.  Let's say you go to the gym, if you go to the gym and you see those guys who workout so much, they have pecs and biceps like, they'll intimidate the mirror.

[Laughter]

And, it's like, "It's not a Tooma."  It's one of those kinds of big buffed guys.  Okay so, I dare you to do this, walked up to one next time, and say, "Hey, Mr. America, what you're going to do with all those muscles?"  Do you think he'll go, "wash feet?"

[Laughter]

I don't think so.  He didn't train to get all of that power to wash feet.  This isn't a job for the Messiah, this is a job for a slave, and the Disciples knew that, the job for a slave.  This is sort of like if the president of the United States cleans his own toilet at the White House.  Or the Queen of England washes her own bed sheets at Buckingham Palace.  Or Elvis tunes his own guitar.  And there are people who do that for you.  Jesus did it for them.  And don't miss the spot, it's all predicated upon Jesus knowing that the Father had given Him all power and all authority.  And so he washed their feet.  He was thinking about them.  Here's the principle, it's a powerful one.  If you know who you are, you don't have to prove who you are to anyone else.  Your identity equals your security.  You know who you are.  You don't have to prove it to anybody else.  Jesus knew what was ahead.  He knew there was suffering, he knew there was death, he could easily be consumed with Himself, with my problems, with my issues.  He wasn't, He knew who He was.  He knew he had all power, all authority, He knew He was from heaven, He was going to heaven.  And that enabled Him to freely love these bumbling, floundering, argumentative, bickering Disciples.

Now, I have a question for you.  What can you think of that you would consider, to be a menial task in your life, something below your position, your station?  Some task that you would say at work, "It's not my job, we have people to do that here."  Let me ask you another question that goes along with that.  Who in your life can you think of that you find it hard to love, hard to serve, hard to forgive?  And then you think of what we've just read.  You see, when you're at peace with your past, and you're secure in your future, you're free to love in the present.  That's what frees you to be able to love people.  You're so consumed with them, not you because you're secure in your future, you're at peace with your past, you can love them freely.  That's the principle outlined here.  It featured an act of serving.

There's a fourth reason that made it so special.  It was filled with shades of meaning.  Now, you noticed in verse one, it says, "He loved them to the end."  That's the final little phrase, "He loved them to the end."  And I'd told you that a better translation is He wanted to show them the full extent of His love, right?

So, here's my question.  Is washing feet the full extent of Jesus' love for mankind?  I don't think so.  I mean that's very nice and it's a good example, and He's going to press home that example, next week we'll see that.  But, this isn't the full extent of His love, but he wants to show them the full extent of His love.  He wants to love them to the end.  What's the full extent of Jesus' love?  The cross, what's coming up in hours ahead?  So, what I understand this to be, isn't just that He's washing dirt off of their feet, but He's acting out in parable form, what's coming that night in a greater fashion.

So, follow me, look at verse four.  It says He lays it aside -- or, first of all, it says, He rose up from the supper.  So, He gets up.  He's voluntarily about to do something, He gets up.  Didn't Jesus, already in greater form rise in heaven?  He got up to come down to the earth voluntarily.  You know, it sound like in heaven, they had a contest and Jesus got the short straw, so He had to be the one to come.  He opted for it, He volunteered to do it.  He rose up from supper.

Second thing it says, "He laid aside His garments."  How suggestive is that?  Philippians chapter two, says, "He emptied himself, He poured Himself out, He divested Himself of the garments of glory to come to the earth.

Third thing it says in our verse, "That He took a towel and He girded Himself," again, very suggestive.  Jesus came, and though He was deity, He wrapped His divinity in a towel of humanity.  He was God in human flesh.  Notice also, He poured water into a basin, began to wash their feet.  In a few hours He would pour out His blood to wash the world of sin.  And then there's this added thing that I find it sort of interesting, it says, "And to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded."  Now, why did John think that was important?  "Jesus wash feet but I also want you to know and I'm going to use ink to put on a page, so that you would know that Jesus also dried their feet."  Okay, thank you John.  Why does he do that, I think it's simple.  He wants us to know that when Jesus starts something, He completes the task.

We're told again, the book of Philippians, chapter one, "The good work that He has began in you, He will complete it, He will bring it to its completion."  So, whatever He starts in your life, He's going to complete, He's going to dry your feet.  Or if you'll allow me, He's not going to let you stay a drip.  He's going to mature you, He's going to Disciple you, He's going to further you.

Fifth and finally this night was special and different.  You'll notice it was followed by sinful planning.  We're told that not only is Jesus in that room with His Disciples but the devil came to dinner as well, and have something to do with Judas Iscariot.  Verse two, supper being ended the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son to betray Him.  Why is that included in here?  Here's a paragraph of the last meal introducing a great and wonderful message Jesus is going to give.  In an act of serving by washing feet, why does John dumped that in here?  Simple, it's a contrast.  Here's an act of sacrifice, in contrast to an act of selfishness.  Here's Jesus, here's Judas.  Here's Jesus, who thought of everyone but Himself.  Here's Judas, who thought of no one but himself.  Here's Jesus, whose motto was give, here's Judas whose motto was take.  And they're shown side by side to see what a star contrast they were.  In effect you have here, in one little verse, the difference in the devil's philosophy and Jesus' philosophy.  How the devil and Judas, how do they life and how Jesus does life.

Now, listen to the comparison in star terms.  Here's the description of Jesus, Here's the way of Jesus, this is Philippians two, "Though He was God.  He did not demand and cling to His rights as God.  He mad Himself nothing, He took the humble position of a servant or slave appeared in human form.  And in human form, He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross.  That's Jesus, do you compare that to Satan.

Isaiah chapter 14, "How are you falling from heaven or Lucifer son of the mourning, for you have said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven.  I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.  I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.  I will be like the most high."  Do you see the difference here?  Jesus says, "I'm going to leave heaven and come down to earth and serve."  The devil goes, "I'm going up to the top and I'm going to rule."  You're never more like Jesus, than when you serve.  You're never more like the devil, than when you refuse to serve and you want to be seen and you want only to rule.  That's the contrast.  Oh, by the way, God the Father has the last word.  Because Jesus said, "Father, I'll voluntarily rise up and go down and serve, and in that very passages are therefore God has highly exalted Him.  And given Him a name above all names.  But, when the devils said, I'm going up, up, up.  God says in Isaiah, "Therefore, you will be brought down to Sheol Hell, the lowest parts of the pit.  So, Jesus says, "I'm going down to serve."  The Father says, "Then I'll make sure that you go up, I'll exalt you."  The devil says, "I'm going up!"  God says, "You're going down, and it will be permanent."

Now I'm going to close by giving you three wrapped up principles to take away with, wraps this whole thing up, just three little things to walk away with.  Number one, learn to place more value on personal relationships.  Learn to play some more value on personal relationships.  You go, "I don't really like my personal relationships, I like to get rid of a few of them and get some different ones."

[Laughter]

Well. How about a different tact, how about enjoy or at least use the personal relationships that you have to cultivate and minister to, minister in?  See, a lot of everything, "Well I need a bigger venue, I need more people, I have something to do and say it in you," how about just the personal relationships, one on one.  You don't know the kind of affect you can have in a one on one kind of relationship, mentorship, discipleship.  Learn to value personal relationships.  That's the first principle

Second principle, capture, spare moments.  "I got ten minutes.  Well, what I'm going to do?  It's sort of a waste of time, what I'm going to do?"  I try it on television, although that could be some special moment that you could capture, that could be used.  What seems to you like an ordinary normal day or night could turn out to be very extraordinary.  I've always appreciated Erma Bombeck and her humor.  She was a great writer, she wrote for a lot of newspaper columns.  Listen to how she put it, she said, "Seize the moment.  Remember all those women on the "Titanic" who waved off the dessert cart.

[Laughter]

Are you thinking about that one?  Think of all the women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.  The dessert cart came by, they're on the Titanic, it's going down, really soon and they go, "No, no, no.  I'm going to watch my weight, I'm not going eat dessert."  "Are you kidding?  It's the Titanic.  Have it all."  Seize the moment.

Here's the third principle, "Use your power to serve."  Now, all of you have a position of power, in some regard with someone, some place of authority.  You might be a mother, you have authority over children.  You might be a husband, a father.  You have authority in that home.  You might be a middle manager, you might own a company, you have a position of authority, a position of power.  What if you were to use your power to serve?  Because you see, when servants serve, so what?  It's what's expected, it's the norm.  When leader serve?  It's profound.  It's so influential, it makes people stop.

Leonard Bernstein was asked by an admirer, "Mr. Bernstein, what's the hardest instrument to play in the orchestra?"  He said without wavering, "Second fiddle."  It's the hardest instrument to play, because I can fiddle, I can get first violinist all day long who will volunteer for the position.  But, for me to find somebody who'll play second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flutist, it's very difficult.  You see but without seconds, there's no harmony.  Isn't that beautiful, isn't that suggestive?

Serve, use your power, your position to serve, Jesus did and He's the prime example.  He had all the power in the universe, He knew He was going back to where He was sent from, and that is heaven, so He washes feet.

Let's bow together.  Father, it's hard really to get our minds around this kind of love, this kind of servanthood.  We can talk about it, we can even call ourselves servants, but when we see it displayed in the person of Jesus Christ, we fall hush, there's nothing to say.  We're amazed.  We're amazed partly because, truly not a part of our culture, it's not really a part of many of our lives.  We loved to be called servants.  We just don't like being treated as servants.  It's hard to love.  It's hard to serve some folks.  But, when we think that we're doing it for you, and you're pleased with it because it's so much like you, and it defeats the devil and His schemes, it's something that we should shoot for.

Lord, then I think of the way you serve by coming to give your life on a cross, to pour out your blood to wash our sin.  To show the full extent of your love that was simply a parabolic, symbolic act something you were going to do in a much greater fashion and form that evening later on.  As you would volunteer yourself to go into a garden to be arrested to be beaten, to be mocked and to have your blood flow on a cross, to wash sins away, thank you.

Lord as we close, I just want to thank of those who maybe here today, it's a normal day, it's an ordinary day.  But, it might be an extraordinary moment where you'll reach out and touch their lives, and rescue them and save them.  Maybe their relatives or friends of somebody, they got talked in to come in to church, wouldn't their idea, they wouldn't be here, but they came.  Maybe you just decided, I'm going to get a hold of that one.  They've had an appointment with me all along, they just didn't know about it.  Make this an extraordinary special moment for them.

Maybe you've come today and you've never received Christ personally, or maybe you're just not walking with Him today, you've walked away from Him and you need to come back home.  Some of you are sitting inside, some you are next door in a hub facility.  Some of you are outside in the amphitheater.  Inside here I stand in the hub, another passer stands outside.  Another passer stands.  If you want to give your life to Christ today, and experience why Good Friday is so good and so great and experience the results of forgiveness, or if you want to come back home to the Lord and experience like the Prodigal Son, a fresh forgiveness.  If you want that, wherever you're seated, inside, outside or in the hub, I want you to raise your hand up right now.  I'll acknowledge your hand.  And I'll pray for you as we close this service.

By raising your hand, you're saving, "Pray for me, I want to give my life to Jesus, I need to do this, its something the Lord's dealing with me and just raise your hand up.  God bless you, and you, to my right toward the back, anyone else?  Right up here in the front, you too, right over my head, sorry I missed you.  Right over here to my left couple of you in the family room, God bless you guys, all of you.  Right over there, thanks for waving it a little bit, anyone else?  Slip that hand up.  God bless you toward the back, right in the middle of that section, right up here, yes.  Two more on my right, on the side, if you're outside, if you're in the hub, you raise your hand up.  A passer is going to acknowledge you right there.

Father, we pray for all of these, who have raised their hands, we know the hand is connected to them, it's their life.  And I've prayed for them, I pray Lord that you'd reveal the full extent of your love to them that they would know how special they are to you.  That Lord Jesus, you came to the earth to die for them, to redeem them.  Let them experience how much you love them today, as they begin a new journey, a new walk with you in Jesus name, Amen.

Let's all stand.  We're going to sing a final song, and as we do, I saw hands go up around the auditorium, some in the family room, some right up front.  I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing right now and find the nearest isle, and walk forward and let me pray a prayer with you to receive Christ.  As we sing this song, if you raise your hand, you'd simply come forward and stand up here.  And I'm going to lead you into prayer.

If you're over in the hub or outside, the pastor is going to walk you over here, in just a moment from one of those two places.  You come on up, don't put it off any longer, come on up, this is your day.  It's your appointment.  Now those of you who have come forward young and old and every age in between, I want to lead you in a prayer.  I'd like you to pray this prayer out loud after me from your heart.  Say these words to the Lord and mean them.

Lord I give You my life.  [Lord I give You my life].  I admit that I'm a sinner.  [I admit that I'm a sinner].  Please forgive me.  [Please forgive me].  I believe that Jesus died.  [I believe that Jesus died].  That He shed His blood for my sin.  [That He shed His blood for my sin].  That He rose again from the dead. [That He rose again from the dead].  I turn from my sin.  [I turn from my sin].  I turn to You as my savior.  [I turn to You as my savior].  I want to follow You as my Lord.  [I want to follow You as my Lord], today and every single day, [today and every single day], in Jesus' name, [in Jesus name].  Amen.  [Amen].

[Applause]

Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
Skip Heitzig
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
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The Hostess Company has for years advertised that its Wonder bread "helps build strong bodies 12 ways" and that just two slices has the calcium of eight ounces of milk and the fiber of 100% whole wheat. Wow! The crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have loved that! But our Lord presents something to them far greater than what they were wanting. He knew what they needed.
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7/18/2010
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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life
John 6:51-71
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Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.
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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
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There was always a fog surrounding Jesus! It was a fog of uncertainty, of unbelief, and of conflicting opinion. He was misunderstood about both His mission and His message. His friends, His family, and His foes were often bewildered about who He was and what He was doing. That remains true even today. But in this passage our view becomes clearer. Jesus had clearly defined objectives that He reveals here and they are extremely practical for us today.
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8/8/2010
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Follow Jesus But Don't Be Religious
John 7:14-24
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Jesus clashed with religious leaders more than any other group of people. He went against their spiritual grain and challenged their legalistic ideas. Christ made it clear that He hadn’t come to establish a new religion but rather to show the way to God His Father. He didn’t give people another “system of beliefs and practices”; instead He said that He Himself was the way, truth, and life. In this public confrontation, we learn how to follow Christ in truth and not be religious.
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8/15/2010
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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)
John 7:25-53
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All the diverse and assorted experiences offered by this world can never satisfy the deepest longing of the human soul. What we really want isn't what we really need. The rest of John chapter 7 illustrates this truth. In the midst of a crowd of people clamoring for deep spiritual satisfaction stands the only One who can provide it. He offers them the drink that really satisfies and all but a few refuse it, preferring rather to die of thirst. How painfully ironic!
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8/22/2010
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Scribbling on the Ground
John 8:1-11
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Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.
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8/29/2010
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Blinded by the Light
John 8:12-20
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When the sun shines right in your eyes, your immediate inclination is to squint, turn away, or put sunglasses on. Light can be blinding! Though light penetrates our world, providing illumination and energy for our very existence, big doses of it can be difficult to handle. That's true spiritually as well. Jesus, by His teaching and work, illuminated this world darkened by sin. Some rejoiced in that light, able to see where they were going. But others, who'd been so accustomed to spiritual darkness, could only wince when Jesus was around.
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9/5/2010
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The Worst Way & Best Way to Die
John 8:21-30
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One person put it this way, "Death is the big flaw. Sometimes we can postpone it, lessen its physical pains, deny its existence—but we can't escape it!" Since that is universally true, why don't people take death seriously enough to plan for it? While we are alive in this world, everyone should be thinking more about the next. But what's the best (and worst) way to die?
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9/19/2010
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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live
John 8:31-36
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Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.
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9/26/2010
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The Devil's DNA
John 8:37-47
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Your body has 100 trillion cells. Inside each one is a nucleus and in each nucleus are DNA molecules. DNA is like an instruction manual for life with densely coded information telling each cell what to do. A simple paternity test would prove that my father was really my father. Here Jesus gives His audience a spiritual paternity test that reveals their spiritual father to be the devil himself. No matter what your physical ancestry, you can always tell one's spiritual heritage.
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10/3/2010
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Who IS This Guy?
John 8:48-59
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Jesus had friends and He had enemies. But besides those, He also had some "frenemies" (enemies who pretended to be friends). To this crowd who at first pretended to believe (v. 31) Jesus is both confrontational and controversial. This paragraph highlights three possible identities of Jesus: two of them were his enemies' accusations and one was Jesus' own claim.
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10/10/2010
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Life Hurts! Where's God?
John 9:1-12
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"Why is there so much pain in the world?" is the most frequently asked question ever! We hate it when we, or those we love, are in pain. Today we see Jesus confront a hurting world. As we do, consider these words by Elizabeth Elliot (whose husband was murdered): "If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy."
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10/17/2010
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The Truth About Your Neighbors
John 9:13-34
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Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.
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10/24/2010
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Got Any Blind Spots?
John 9:35-41
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When you drive, you encounter "blind spots"—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat! As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
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10/31/2010
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The Good Shepherd (and a bunch of happy sheep!)
John 10:1-10
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This is one of the most beloved passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. But it's not a stand-alone passage: The healing of the blind man in chapter 9 was more than a miracle. It was part of the process of Jesus forming His flock. The leadership had cast the healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, accepted him, saved him, and placed him in His own fold.
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11/21/2010
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What's So Great About the Good Shepherd?
John 10:11-21
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"What's so great about being a Christian?" some people ask. The answer lies in the kind of care, provision, and protection we get from Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Have you ever stopped to make a list of the benefits that are yours as a follower of Christ? Consider this short list of advantages that you, as a child of God, have. When was the last time you thanked Him for being your Shepherd? This would be a great week to do that!
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12/5/2010
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To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
John 10:22-42
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"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
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1/9/2011
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The Great Physician's Patient Dies
John 11:1-16
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When a doctor loses a patient on the operating table, there is a deep sense of remorse and sadness in the surgical theater. Doctors are trained to save lives but sometimes even the best trained physicians are unable to control complications that lead to death. But here we discover that Christ, the Great Physician, not only knows that His patient is sick--He allows him to die! Here are three principles about Divine Medicine that we can all learn.
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1/16/2011
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A Tale of Two Sisters
John 11:17-32
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In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The story before us is set in Bethany near Jerusalem and highlights the personal relationship that two sisters had with Jesus Christ. Their broken hearts provide an excellent platform to consider how Christ deals with people in grief and loss. Let's actively probe not only their responses but ours to the incredible promise Jesus makes.
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1/23/2011
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The Strangest Funeral Ever
John 11:33-44
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According to one source, there are approximately 2 million funerals in America per year, which means that about 5,479 funerals take place every single day! Most of those funerals are pretty typical: a formal service followed by an interment. But the funeral service we're looking at was really different--and not just because of a resurrection. Here Jesus does three things that are pretty normal for most people at a funeral, but strikingly odd for Jesus.
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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
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Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.
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2/6/2011
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A Meal to Reveal the Heart
John 12:1-11
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If you were to step into the home of Simon at Bethany (Mark 14:3) on that night, you would've seen Jesus and His disciples along with Lazarus and His two sisters reclining at a low table for a meal in honor of Christ. But if you were to step into the hearts of those people, you would discover they were all very different from each other. Those inside the house and outside represent the gamut of feelings about Jesus—from adoring love to intense hatred. What a complicated meal!
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2/13/2011
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A Day, a Donkey, a Deliverer, and a Decision
John 12:12-19
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2000 years ago, on the final Sunday of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion, He did the most unusual thing—He sat on a donkey and was carried into the city of Jerusalem in parade fashion. This formal presentation of Him as Deliverer was both profound and predicted. What’s the significance of such an act as this? What overarching principles emerge for us today? We’ll dig in and discover them, but today you’ve got to write them down yourself:
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2/20/2011
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Living the Right Life
John 12:20-26
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If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!
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2/27/2011
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Cross-Culture
John 12:27-36
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The term cross-culture emerges from the social sciences and typically refers to interaction of one culture or language with another. But that's not how I'm using it today. I'm thinking of it in the biblical sense, the salvation sense. Jesus' whole life was immersed in the culture of the cross and He referred to His impending death on the cross as "His hour." Let's consider today the culture of the cross of Christ: what it meant to Jesus personally and the world ultimately.
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3/6/2011
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Believe It or Not!
John 12:37-50
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Most of you reading this are believers. Some are not. Both are dangerous positions to take but for different reasons—vastly different reasons! This paragraph in John's Gospel is the summary of all that has been written, from chapters 1 through 13. It reviews the two different responses people have to Jesus and then gives us Jesus' own synopsis on faith and unbelief. Today you will be able to understand the real differences and consequences of faith and unbelief.
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3/20/2011
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Basin Theology 101
John 13:6-17
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At the final Passover meal that Jesus shared with His closest friends, He gave new meaning to the bread and wine, using them to point to His upcoming sacrificial death on the cross. Today we share Communion as a church family and reflect on that meal, as well as the lessons Jesus was teaching His first followers. After dinner Jesus took a basin of water and began to wash the feet of his students and taught them life principles about stooping, cleansing and serving.
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3/27/2011
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Betrayed!
John 13:18-30
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Relationships can withstand an enormous amount of pressure, but betrayal is sure to end most. The old English word means to hand over or to deliver. Think of it: while Jesus was about to deliver the world from sin and its destruction, Judas was about to deliver the Savior over to His enemies. If you've ever felt betrayed by someone, this study will have special application to you.
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4/10/2011
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A Brand New Way of Life!
John 13:31-35
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To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.
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4/17/2011
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F.A.Q.
John 13:36-38
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An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer
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5/1/2011
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A Theology for Messy Lives
John 14:1-6
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Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.
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5/8/2011
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How Can I Know God?
John 14:7-11
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What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.
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5/29/2011
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Privileges of God's Employees
John 14:12-14
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Most companies have benefits for employees: things like overtime pay, health insurance, and sick pay. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls us "workers together with Him" (NLT renders it "God's partners"). We have been called to a high and lofty task—to be His representatives here on earth. You might say we're part of the "family business." So what has God called us to do? And how has He provided for us in terms of resources? In short, what are the benefits of being God's employees?
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6/5/2011
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Four Part Harmony
John 14:15-18
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Some of the best moments on American Idol aren't the solo performances, but when all the singers join together and blend their voices in harmony. There's nothing sweeter than well-trained voices blended together in first, thirds, and fifths. Spiritual harmony is much the same—when believers blend with the triune Godhead there is an alignment that results in a deep sense of fulfillment. And what is the note we are to sing in this spiritual song? It is the note of loving obedience!
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6/12/2011
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Promises, Promises!
John 14:19-26
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Someone once mused, "Promises may get friends, but it's performance that keeps them." No wonder God has so many friends! He makes promises and keeps them. On this final night that Jesus spent with His friends, as both sorrow and confusion assailed them, Jesus made several promises that would sustain them in the days, months, and years ahead. What about you? Will you dare to trust the promises of God? It's the only way to see if they really work.
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6/26/2011
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Peace Where You Least Expect It
John 14:27-31
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On countless American gravestones this epitaph could be written: Hurried, Worried, Buried. What a sad way to live! Fear, anxiety, and distress have literally become part of our national culture. Odd, isn't it? Though we have such abundance in this country, most don't experience abundant life—especially as Jesus described it. Sure, everyone has his or her share of trouble and anxieties, but let's consider one of the greatest gifts Jesus gives to followers—the gift of peace!
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7/3/2011
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Life-Lessons from Grape-Growers - Part 1
John 15:1-7
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My parents grew grapes on their little plot of land in Southern California. There weren't many, but enough for me to know that getting fruit at harvest depended on three things: the solid connection of branch to vine, the vigilant care of the workers, and the consistency of those things over time. Jesus, walking with the disciples toward the Garden of Gethsemane, gives life lessons to His men using the familiar example of growing grapes. With that analogy in mind, let's consider the three ways our relationship to God is described by Jesus.
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7/10/2011
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Life-Lessons From Grape-Growers - Part 2
John 15:8-11
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As we grow older, we mature. In our spiritual lives we should become spiritually mature. The Bible calls it being fruitful. Spiritual fruit is the indication that we're truly connected to Christ. But there are others, as we'll see today. Last week we examined how the relationship with Christ is described (Connected to Christ, Cared for by the Father, and Consistent Over Time). Today let's consider how this relationship is demonstrated. When we're rightly connected to God we'll be:
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7/17/2011
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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
John 15:12-17
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We can get through almost anything in life with friends to share our sorrow and divide our grief. A Chinese word for friend is peng-yu and it has a much fuller meaning than in English. It means "one who brings completion and sums up beauty." The ancient Hebrews saw true friendship as an ideal to pursue and a blessing to enjoy. In these final moments with His followers, Jesus uses a most tender term for their relationship—they were friends! What does that friendship look like?
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7/24/2011
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Why Does Everyone Hate Me?
John 15:18-25
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There is a flipside to being a friend of Jesus. That's true of any friendship. Whenever you ally yourself and make friends with someone, you will incur some enemies because of it. Likewise, some who don't like Jesus won't like us either—and we discover there are quite a few who don't! Let's find out why, and how we can raise our heads high and prevail.
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7/31/2011
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Two Thirds Is Not Enough
John 15:26-16:15
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We love God the Father who created us and God the Son who redeemed us, but what about the Holy Spirit? We hear His name a lot, but who is He? What exactly does He do? What does He want from us? The Holy Spirit is the "quiet One," active in the life of believers but sometimes not acknowledged as being vital. Oswald Chambers noted, "The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything!" Today, we consider Him and His role in our lives.
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8/7/2011
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The Holy Hound of Heaven
John 16:5-11
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Having understood Who the Holy Spirit is (Person not just power; Deity not just dignitary) we now find out what He does in the world of unbelieving people. Since the greatest gift God ever gave to the world was His only Son (John 3:16) it stands to reason that the greatest sin one can commit is to reject the Son (John 16:9). How does the Holy Spirit both sentence the world as prosecutor and lead people away from judgment? And what role do we play in all of this?
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8/14/2011
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When Sorrow Turns to Joy
John 16:16-22
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The flamboyant baseball-legend-turned-preacher Billy Sunday stated, "If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere!" That's not to say that life is all laughs. Hardly! Jesus anticipated His followers' deep sorrow. He predicted it. But He also assured them that their experience of sadness would be eclipsed by a greater experience of lasting joy.
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8/21/2011
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How to Send Knee-Mail
John 16:23-28
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Today you can be anywhere in the world and send or receive messages digitally via email. Sending email has eclipsed traditional mail for years now. Sending knee-mail is similar (you can be anywhere)—but with better results! You don't need wifi or a modem; you don't need an electronic device or a computer. Before Jesus left His disciples, He wanted them to get "online" with the Father and stay connected through the simple yet powerful means of prayer.
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9/4/2011
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I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
John 16:29-33
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I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail! So said President Woodrow Wilson. Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and is not surprised by our weaknesses. We all fall and fail, even though we may commit to standing strong. What can we learn about ourselves and our God in such valleys? Even more, what kind of restoration can we hope for after our bout with failure?
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9/18/2011
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Holy Eavesdropping
John 17:1
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Imagine if you could sit and listen to Jesus talking to His Father—what would Jesus say to Him? In this prayer (which comprises all of John 17) we step onto holy ground. His instruction to His followers is now over. His preparation of them is done. He now turns His attention heavenward to talk directly to His Father about Himself, about His disciples, and about His future church. This prayer is unique for four reasons:
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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
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It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
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10/2/2011
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How Followers Are Formed
John 17:6-10
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Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
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10/9/2011
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Missionaries or Monasteries?
John 17:11-19
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How can you leave your mark on the world? Most everyone wants to be remembered for some contribution made to society. Well, Jesus wants us to do that, too. In fact, He prays for that. God wants you to make an imprint on life's road so people will say, "Hey look! God's kids were here!" We can't do that by isolating ourselves. We have marching orders!
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10/23/2011
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Listen Up! Jesus is Praying—for YOU!
John 17:20-26
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What's God's general will for you? Look no further than this text! Now as we listen to Jesus pray for us, we also find what our priorities in life are to be. These words are the "Last Will and Testament" of Jesus Christ. So pay close attention and you'll get it right from the heart of Jesus Himself.
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10/30/2011
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I've Got It Under Control
John 18:1-11
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Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
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11/20/2011
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The Darkest Night!
John 18:12-27
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On a dark spring night in Jerusalem, it seemed everyone was against Jesus Christ. The religious system had long been opposed to and jealous of His burgeoning ministry. The mock trial designed to get rid of Jesus was only going through the technical motions to achieve their end. And Peter, Jesus' closest friend, was in a downward process of disassociating himself from Him. But in the midst of the darkest night, the sunrise of God's grace was beginning to shine!
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1/8/2012
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A King, a Kingdom, and a Courtroom
John 18:28-40
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What kind of a King is Jesus, and what is the nature of His Kingdom? And what does it mean to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done"? These are the questions faced in the text before us. As Jesus nears the cross, a nation denies His reign over them, while a Roman ruler questions Him and then cynically admits his own confusion and despair.
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1/22/2012
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How Do You Handle Jesus?
John 19:1-16
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Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
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1/29/2012
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Execution of a King
John 19:17-22
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Regicide is the official word used for the execution of a king. Most countries reserve the stiffest of punishments for subjects or assassins who would kill their royalty. John records the execution of the King of kings on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. But the rest of Scripture reveals that it was more than an execution; it was sacrifice that brought salvation. The next few weeks, we will consider the cross in depth and what it means for the world and for us.
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2/5/2012
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The Cross on the Billboard of Eternity
John 19:23-24
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Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
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2/12/2012
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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
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A mother's love for her children is distinctive and irreplaceable. To watch a child suffer is crushing and almost intolerable for any mom. In this touching scene revealed in three verses, we not only see Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of her Son's cross, we also learn how Jesus cared for His mother. Even from His place of extreme suffering, Jesus was thinking of others and His love for Mary is noteworthy for us.
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2/19/2012
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iThirst
John 19:28-29
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.